Doing better...

Just wanted to quickly thank everyone who has emailed or called with kind thoughts over our recent loss...

We are doing better today. Missy is still very much on our minds, but the emotions aren't as close to the surface anymore. Kids are remarkably resilient and Jenna is faring better than Steve and I. Jenna took it harder last night and we are taking it harder after the fact.

Fred and Mack are very clingy and whiny tonight. I know they are painfully aware of her absence as well. It will take time for all of us. But thank God, time, we have (at least we think we do!)

I'm off to watch my Netflix movie and just relax! Happy Labor Day weekend!


Farewell Faithful Friend...


It's done.

I can say without a doubt, it was one of the most awful things I've had to go through. We knew we had to do it and it was best for her, but it was hard. After talking with my good friend and mentor, Sherri, she convinced me that I needed to be with Missy in the last moments. I was already convinced that we needed to be honest with Jenna about what was about to happen. She knew Missy wasn't well and knew there would come a day, but she really didn't understand. Not sure why Steve and I chose dinner (over meatloaf no less) to tell her, but she'd only had about two bites when we brought it up and she started sobbing. And I'm pretty sure she didn't stop until we were about halfway home from the emergency vet. I guess that is what made it pretty awful too is watching your child go through this and being powerless to help.

I will say, because our vet was not able to work us in for several days, we chose to go to the next county's emergency vet. They were so, so kind, sympathetic and thoughtful. They explained what would happen, what they would do and that it would be quick, painless and peaceful. And my only regret was that I didn't do it sooner. I know that sounds so cruel, but we didn't want to do it and so we both made excuses (Oh, she's not in pain) for too long. We really waited too long.

Sherri would be proud. Not only did I stay by her side, with my hand on her the whole time, but we ALL THREE stayed in until she was gone. Jenna wouldn't think of leaving. We kept asking her and through her sobs, she insisted on staying. All we all cried. For those of you who have never had to euthanize a pet, I would recommend staying with your friend until the end. Sherri told me this before when she went through the same thing with her beloved cats. I thought she was crazy. But before we left the house, I knew it was what I had to do. I feel like we were there with her to the end...

The beginning: Missy came to us in the spring of 1993, just a few short months after my mother passed away. Our across the street neighbor's daughter found her as a stray and was looking for a home for her. I guess my dad was still grieving too much to tell me no, so we took her in. She was about 3 months old then. We hadn't had a dog in some time...not a real dog since Smokey, my childhood german shepherd. Missy came in and shortly thereafter, I met and married Steve and she became "our" dog. I guess in a way, Missy became my comforter after my mother's death. And I guess that's why it became so important to me to be by her side at the end. We'd been through an awful lot together. She'd never deserted me and I wasn't about to do it to her. Anyway, she grew up and was such a loving dog...such a good girl. We brought in Mack, then Mocha (dogs), then Midnight (cat) adopted us and spent most of her time outside with Missy. Finally, came Fred. All the while, Missy was the "Mama". I'd like to think she is now wherever faithful pets go...running and playing with Midnight and Mocha and even Smokey. She's strong and nimble like when she was young. That's the way I'll choose to remember her.

I wish I could say this is the last time I'll have to go through this...watch my child and even my husband go through this, but it's not. In fact, for Steve and I, it's not even the first time. We had to have Mocha euthanized several years back after a full on seizure. Shortly after, we found Midnight in the neighbor's yard. So, this was not the first. And with Mack being 9 years old and both Maggie and Molly about 8, this day will come again.

It's part of loving something.

And letting go.

It's part of life.

And death.

Farewell old girl. Thanks for the last 14 years. We'll never forget you.


A flying leap!

We've had some excitement today...take a look at this nutcase of a cat...we recently bought this to hang in Jenna's room to get some of the stuffed animals off the floor and bed. He loves to play with it and this is how he ended up tonight! And you know, it's the funniest thing...Jenna is in love with this little guy! He lets her tote him around like a rag doll and they are both so alike...both daredevils. If you don't believe me, read on...

Ever since we got Mittens (he was only about 5 weeks old when Steve rescued him), he has this thing where he walks on the outer edge of the staircase. When I say that, I mean, he walks on the ledge OUTSIDE the spindles of the landing overlooking the foyer. Several times, we've wondered how long it would be before he fell or jumped. Well. Today was the day.

This morning, he was out wandering around. Jenna and I were in the kitchen getting ready to leave for the day. Steve was in the master bath still getting ready because he'd not felt 100% when he woke up so he was running late. All of a sudden, I heard a thud in the hallway and when I looked, I saw Mittens slinking off toward the stairs. I knew immediately that he'd fallen from our upstairs. I figured it would happen, but it was so scary when it did. I ran to the stairs and yelled for Steve. Mittens was awake, but not moving and breathing funny. He was breathing like either he had a collapsed lung or had the breath knocked out of him. We watched and waited for a few minutes trying to decide what to do, but after about 20 minutes, he did not improve, so Steve stayed home and took him to the vet. Long story short, he's a little daredevil, but we don't think he'll be trying to fly anytime soon. He was fine. A little sore, maybe bruised and definitely shocked and had the breath knocked out of him, but fine! PHEW!

Needless to say, when this all happened, Jenna was a basket case. She was just beside herself, in tears...the whole 9 yards and because I didn't know what would happen, I had to talk to her about the worst thing...

Which is good because we are going this weekend to have our old Shepherd mix put down. She's nearly 15 years old and she can't get around anymore due to her bad hips. We've put it off as long as we can and probably way longer than we should. She is now not eating, not moving much and not drinking, which is very bad in this heat wave. We are so not looking forward to this. But we definitely don't want to come home and find her dead, although somehow I think that would be easier. This is the worst thing about being a pet owner. You have to do the right thing...the humane thing...but it is SO hard. We got Missy after my mom died...so there's some sweet memories to her.

But. To end on a happier note. On my way to church tonight, my gas light came on. I hate to see that stupid light because it means a delay somewhere in my day where I don't have the time to stop and get gas. But anyway, I called Steve, told him I was on my way, but that after Jenna was done with Mission Friends, I'd have to stop before coming home to get gas. After dropping Jenna off, he was going to drive my van around to the back of the church so I could go right out when I picked her up. Well, he was gone for the longest time. Finally, he shows back up with my keys and I asked him what took him so long. He didn't really answer, but left to come home. About 1/2 hour later, Jenna got done with Mission Friends and I picked her up, hurrying out to get on and get gas and get her home before bedtime. When I got in my van, there was a gas receipt on the dash where he'd gone and gotten gas in my van when he moved it around to the back parking lot! How freaking sweet is that?!?!?!? I dare any of you women reading to top that!


20 Years...

...of absolutely wonderful, beautiful, and heavenly music.

Tonight our church celebrated 20 years of instrumental music. It's been 20 years since our orchestra started. I've said it here before, but if our choir and orchestra is even a tiny taste of the music in heaven, trust me, I'm ready to go now. Sometimes I can just close my eyes and imagine angels singing and playing music. Because the church is large, the choir and orchestra are likewise. Tonight, I had my camera during the special performance and the final song with the choir. I was really planning to upload the video, but it is just not going to take in blogger tonight. Hopefully I can get it uploaded soon.

After we returned home, I caught our kitten, Mittens, peeking out the window at the dogs. I thought it was pretty cute...


A weekend being "Parents of Two"

This weekend, Gage stayed with us. I was a little uneasy because we just don't see him as often as we'd like and I didn't know what to expect. But let me tell you, that baby laughs up a storm all the time! I got a couple videos of him laughing. They are a bit shaky because I was trying to make him giggle while videoing.

But I'll tell you, he's been such a good boy while he was here. We took him to a wedding and outside of having what seemed like very loud hiccups, he was perfect! It's interesting though because after having just spent a week with Kylene's 2 girls (whose youngest is 4 mos.) and now this weekend with Jenna and Gage, I am not sure whether I'd choose to go back to the totally-dependent-on-me stage. It's nice that Jenna can dress herself and put her trash in the garbage can (when she chooses to!) But if I wanted to determine my decision based on the weekend with Gage, I'd do it in a heartbeat. We aren't preventing, so if God were to bless me with a miracle, I'd be the first to shout it from the rooftops. But until then, I'm going to love on my sweet girl, Jenna and baby Gage!


First Day of Pre-1st

Well, today was Jenna's first day of Pre-1st and she was on cloud 9! She woke up talking about going to school and I even heard her tell Steve on the phone that she didn't think Ms. Seay would put her in time out because "she's just really nice". And once at school, she was just all over the place. The room is so neat and after it sounded like she had a really good time and ready to get down to business on Monday. I'm anxious to see how quickly she learns. I've heard such good things about Ms. Seay that I'm perfectly at ease with Jenna being in her class.
While Jenna was in school, I went and had breakfast with a couple of the other Pre-1st parents. It was nice and something to do while we waited. After Jenna got out of school, we went and had lunch with Steve. Actually, Jenna had lunch with him because I wasn't hungry from my huge breakfast at the Cracker Barrel. After we left Steve, we visited the mall and did some exchanges. We stopped at the Music and Arts store to pick up her violin. It is SOOOOO tiny! I didn't know they came that small...but I guess they do. Obviously, she doesn't know anything about it yet, but seeing her walk out in her little uniform holding her instrument case nearly brought me to tears. I got home to a postcard from church stating she was being promoted upstairs to the "children's area" this Sunday. My little girl is growing up right before my eyes.

I'm about to go downstairs and drag out all my scrapbooking stuff. I have a day full of scrapping next weekend and I need to be somewhat organized. Micah is bringing Gage over tonight for us to keep this weekend while she works so I'm going to get as much done as I can while I can.


A full day!

What a full day we've had. I'm going to tell you all about it after I vent here a bit first.

I just got a call from Steve who said that his boss got back to him today about his work schedule and said he really needed him to work until 3:30 every day. Now most don't understand why that's a BSD (big stinkin' deal) because us 8-5ers would KILL to get off at 3:30 every day. The problem is that the latest we can pick Jenna up from school is 3:00. So, Steve not getting off until 3:30 means she'll have to go to after care for a little less than an hour to the tune of an extra $110 a month. And the bad thing is that I just registered her today and didn't sign her up for any of that. Now, I have to go back and do it AND figure out where in our budget the extra money is going to come from because it's certainly not going to come from the pockets of Parris Printing. I've never complained or allowed myself to feel bad about being a working mom because it's just the way I knew it had to be. However, I've always felt strongly that Jenna be picked up from school by someone as opposed to going to aftercare. I don't know why that was a "thing" with me, but it was. And up until now, it's worked out. Anyway, I'm furious with his boss and the company because it's one stinkin' hour. You'd think that they would give a little when it comes to family, but they apparently don't care. Not sure if he's reading (you know who you are), but if by chance Steve's boss reads this, I'd like you to help me explain to my 6 year old daughter why it is she's going to have to go to aftercare now. Enjoy your one measley hour of Steve's time. It's costing him time with his daughter. THANKS.

OK, done with that tangent. Thanks for listening. So, we got JG all registered today and can I tell you she is SOOOO excited! I am too...it's hard not to get excited when you see your kid excited. I paid my dues, signed up to help with the parties, talked with her teacher (former teachers and just about everyone else in between), paid for an entire semester of lunch and then bought us all matching DL jackets for the winter. It was great and I can't wait to see how tomorrow goes.

Also, we went for her 6 year check up today and she is healthy! She weighs 45lbs and is 43 1/2 inches tall. That puts her in the 50%ile for weight and 25th %ile for height. What does that tell us? It tells us she apparently is taking after me and my mother...if she continues on like she's doing, she'll be about 5ft. 3 inches...just an inch taller than me. I don't know why she can't get some of my dad's height... Her eyesight is 20/20 which is a blessing. I was worried about that, so it's good to know she sees OK. We were surprised to learn her hearing is perfect too because from the way she listens to us, you'd think she was deaf. Not so. She's just been diagnosed with "selective hearing". Figures. :) What else?

Another doctor's appointment for Mittens today. He too is healthy. He received two more shots and now weighs a whopping 2 1/2 pounds! So he's gained a whole pound in 3-4 weeks. He'll have to gain another couple pounds before he gets declawed/fixed.

We went to pick up Jenna's violin today, but they didn't have one small enough for her. So, the guy there is going to pick one up from the other store in Murfreesboro and bring it with him tomorrow. We'll have to pick it up some time after 1pm.

Steve's on his way home and I'm headed downstairs to start dinner. Figure I'll work out my frustration with his stupid job over the stove. The cleaning lady came today so it'll be nice to work in my clean kitchen.



The Start of Another Year

I got about 4 emails yesterday from friends who wanted to know if I had fallen off of the face of the earth. Of course, I haven't, but with everything going on, I just haven't blogged lately. So, below, I blogged about what I've been doing the past week.

Well, after all the excitement of vacation and the fair, I went back to work Monday right into an all day training session. I had two days after that to catch up and then I'm off tomorrow and Friday.

Tomorrow is Jenna's school registration and I am excited. We get to see Ms. Seay (pronounced "see") her Pre-1st teacher. I've been corresponding with her since we were recommended for Pre-1st last year and we are really hitting it off. She's just a wonderful woman and she has made Jenna more excited about going back to school than I've seen her about anything. On a kind of a TOTAL BUMMER note, I was not asked to be a room mother this year. :( I'm pretty disappointed as I'd done it in Pre-K and Kindergarten. I wanted to go for the 3rd year, but it was not meant to be. But then again, it might be nice to enjoy it from the sidelines this time.

So, we have to get up and out about 8:30am to get there to register by 10am. I'm going to meet a lady to buy her ironing board, then taking Jenna to her annual doctor visit. I'm pretty excited about that too because I get to see how tall and heavy she is and whether she's growing on schedule or not. She won't get any shots, so that pressure is off. Although I do have a list of questions to ask the doctor. I'm a little concerned about her eyesight because it's just a year to year check. Knowing how bad my eyes were by the 6th grade, I know she's going to get that trait, but I'm hoping to put it off as long as we can.
After the doctor, we have to stop by the Music and Arts store to pick up her violin. She has decided she wanted to take either piano or violin lessons. I'm not sure how long she'll keep up with it, but I definitely don't want to stifle her interests because *I* think she's not ready. So, she will start violin on Monday and we'll insist she at least finish the semester. If she sticks with it, it is a good segue way into piano. But we'll see...I'm pretty interested to see how she takes to it. I'd love to find out that she has a natural musical ability (unlike her mother).

Finally, Mittens the kitten has a vet's appointment tomorrow afternoon. Friday is Jenna's first 1/2 day of school, so it will be early to rise. After dropping her off, I'm spearheading a parent's breakfast of the pre-1st parents so it will give them something to do between drop off and pick up at school. Friday afternoon, I'm going to start organizing the 500 pictures I just had developed from Moldova, Thailand, Jenna's birthday etc.

Speaking of Thailand, I got those pictures back and was immediately struck by nostalgia. With all that has gone on since I returned from Thailand, I had forgotten how exciting it was. Looking at the pictures, I remembered and can't wait to get back there.

Well, I'm about ready to go to bed, but I'll definitely post more tomorrow after we return home!

The County Fair

So, after we got back from Alabama, we went to the last night of the county fair. We used to go to a neighboring county, but this is year 3 (I think) of a county fair right here in our back yard. For those of you not in this region of the country, last week, we had 4 consecutive days of 100+degree weather, so we were prepared to really sweat it out and basically be miserable.

But, we were going with Rachel and her family and so Jenna was so excited to have Hannah to ride stuff with. I have to admit, having someone to ride with her is easier on us to. We started with having dinner at the fair. And you really can't beat fair food. I had a big long corn dog and a fried corn on a stick. They take that corn, shuck it and then dip it in a huge vat of melted butter. Oh yeah!

As you can tell, Jenna and Hannah rode several things (some things twice) and had a blast doing it. The picture is of the little roller coaster they had in the children's area. As you can see, Hannah is holding on for dear life and Jenna's got her hands in the air! By the end of the night, at the second ride, both of them had their hands in the air. Poor Hannah...if she hangs around Jenna much, she'll turn into a little dare-devil like her. Heavens forbid. Mama Ann would kill me! This from the mother of the 3 year old who rode the mechanical bull at the fair a few years ago!!!
Anyway, there was so much fun to be had and the girls (and Steve) enjoyed a rainbow colored Sno-Cone...for those of you unfamiliar with those, it's basically a bunch of ice with a little flavored water. David and I enjoyed a deep fried Twinkie! Oh yeah! We had such a good time that we intend to make it an annual event for our families.

Our Alabama Vacation

So, we are finally home from our vacation to Alabama. It was a great trip. The girls had fun. I was surprised to learn that Jenna could swim like a fish! We bowled, went to the bounce place, and the girls played and had a good time.

On Friday, Steve, Jenna and I went to the Space Museum. It was a nice break, but it was not as exciting as I remembered when I went as a kid. Jenna was a little too young to appreciate the historical value and it cost us almost $60 to get in. The Imax movie we saw was pretty cool, but Jenna was over it about 10 minutes into it.

I will report that out of the four of us bowling, 2 adults and 2 children, none of us will be on the Pro-bowler's tour anytime soon. I tried to remind Steve that this is the main reason I don't bowl with him!!!

The girls played well for the most part. There's about an 18 month difference between them but you couldn't tell. Take a look at these two silly girls in their dress up stuff...and let me just say this is just ONE of the several outfits they modeled for us during the week.

Kylene and I got alot of time to catch up too, which was so nice! For those of you who don't know, Kylene and I met when we working at Orion together. I was off on my honeymoon when Kylene was hired in. Not sure what it was that attracted us, but she was engaged to be married on August 10, which was our original date before we moved it up. That was back in 1996, and we've been friends ever since. We've had our ups and downs, but mostly ups and there's not a lot I can't tell Kylene. I think a girl is lucky to say she has at least one friend like that in her life. So, I feel blessed to say I actually have several and Ky is one of them.

I sure do miss being with her, but lots of exciting things in store for the week and that keeps me from missing her too much! She moved from Mt. Juliet to Alabama in spring this year and it's

been hard. But it's only an hour from exit to exit, so it won't be too bad. We are planning another quick visit in September for a wedding.


More from Madison Alabama!

Well, I've been scolded again for not updating my blog more often. But my stay here at The Jones' home has been relaxing (for the most part!), so there's really nothing to update!

Yesterday, we got up early and went to the indoor swimming pool. I guess we swam for a couple hours and it really was a fun time. The girls got along well and Jenna surprised me by swimming all over the place! I couldn't believe my eyes. The two weeks at the YMCA must have really done some good. I have video of Jenna swimming, but I can't load it up as I'm using Kylene's laptop. Couldn't figure out how to get my laptop up on her wireless network. Weird...Anyway...yesterday, we swam until about 11:00 and then came home and ate lunch. We made the girls rest for a couple hours while the baby was down (Kylene's, not mine!) and after everyone got up, I got Jenna and myself bathed/showered and we headed out to do some errands at Walmart. While we were there, we decided to treat ourselves to Schlotsky's instead of cooking when we got home. We had a good night. Kylene's husband was out of town, so it was just us girls. We went to bed earlier than before and got a good night's rest.

This morning, Kylene had to work at the church from about 8:30 until 12:30. She took the baby with her, but I kept the older girls. We played a few games, watched a little TV and then had lunch. Once Kylene got home, we took the girls bowling. It was fun. Jenna is napping right now, which is a first for this week. Tomorrow, we are going to the jumpy place and then Steve will be joining us tomorrow night. I think that will be fun too. Friday, Steve, Jenna and I are going to the Space Center. Friday night, we are watching the girls so Kylene and her husband can go out for their anniversary. It's sort of our payment for them letting us crash their house all week and upset their lives...

Oh, and one other tidbit of information that has nothing to do with our vacation...Jenna's decided she wants to take either violin or piano lessons. I'm a little hesitant because I think she's young, but the music teacher at school said that violin can be taught without knowing how to read so we are going to try that for a semester and see how it goes. I think we'll try to go through BWAC at church first, but if they don't have available times for us, we'll go through the school. They are both the same price for the same amount of lessons, so it will come down to who can actually accomodate our schedule.

That's it for now...I'll post pictures and videos when I get home.



Greetings from Madison, Alabama!

Today, Jenna and I traveled to Madison, Alabama to visit with my friend Kylene and her daughter Mady. The trip was an easy one. Took us just over 2 hours and that is with stopping and eating for lunch and stopping at the bathroom also.

We arrived after 1pm and this afternoon and evening, we've just let the girls play and kind of caught up on news of our lives. Tomorrow we plan to go to the swimming pool which will thrill Jenna to death.

I will admit, I'm a little worried about the rest of the week because as well as the girls get along, they have already had a tiff or two and I wonder how long it will take until Jenna is ready to go home and Mady ready to get rid of her! In all honesty, Jenna probably plays better with Madyson than any other child...well, I mean, longer without getting into an argument...She was just ecstatic to be coming to see Mady. It's all I've heard about for the past 2 months and almost daily in the last 2 weeks. But Jenna just loves to play with all of her friends and I guess then that takes us back to Jenna's intense desire for friends...

I can't believe that in a little over a week she'll be back in school as a pre-1st student! I'm already totally into her teacher, Ms. Seay and can't wait to see everything she'll learn.

Well, I'm going to go check on this little prisses...


Feeling like "Mother of the Year"

OK, so you mothers out there will appreciate this story...

YMCA camp called me this afternoon saying that Jenna was complaining of a sore throat. I knew that she'd mentioned it briefly and in passing a couple days before, but I wouldn't call it "complaining". I talked to Jenna and she said it was just hurting "a little" and she didn't need to go see Dr. Mary (which is how I can tell if she's really feeling bad). I told her that if Daddy came by and she decided not to stay at camp, then she'd HAVE to go see Dr. Mary.

Well, a few minutes later, Steve called and said she was leaving camp. I was in a bind at this point because I really didn't feel she was sick because she wasn't achy, feverish, coughing, congested, runny or feeling bad in general. But because I told her I was going to call the doctor if she left camp, I did and just asked if they could run a quick strep test just to be safe.

As many of you know, when it comes to Jenna being sick (or Steve for that matter), I can't stand it. I will run her to the doctor as often as they will let me just so I can satisfy my paranoia that she's perfectly fine less some allergies and sinus infections. I figured she was just having "Daddy Withdrawal" since Steve's just been back a day and then went to work today. But, again, I remembered that she'd mentioned her throat in passing in the past few days and I knew if I didn't take her and she came down with a horrible cold or strep, I'd feel like a loser mom.

So, off we go...we got to see Nurse Libby (who we LOVE!). Told her what the problem was and she looked at her throat. She said she didn't have strep, but would do a swab anyway. I told Nurse Libby that I'd taken her off her Singulair because we were out of refills and since we were coming in for her 6 year check in 2 weeks, I thought I'd see how she did on the Zyrtec alone and discuss it at her checkup. She did say her throat looked a little "yucky" probably from drainage caused by stopping the Singulair. So, off she went with the big cotton swab.

Dr. Mary came in (who, by the way is the BEST pediatrician in the state of Tennesee...) :) She was asking Jenna questions, how she felt, how her summer was going and as always just going on and on about how beautiful and big she was. Jenna, as usual, was eating it up. Then, there's a knock at the door and it's Nurse Libby holding the strep test...two blue lines...much to EVERYONE'S suprise (and for the first time ever) she has strep throat!!! You could have blown the nurse and doctor down with a feather, but oddly enough, I just wanted to CHEER! It's like for once, my paranoia paid off!!!! And, I know with an infection, I get an antibiotic and can "fix" her. They just couldn't believe it because she was acting so normal. She said either we caught it really early (kudos to me) or it was just a very mild case. She even said she could go to camp tomorrow because she's not contagious. It's weird, but I felt like I had that mother's intuition and it paid off because I potentially kept her from becoming a very sick little lady right before we are making a weekend trek to Atlanta AND a week in Alabama staying with our friends the Jones'.

That's my story. And if you are a paranoid mom, it's your story too. Score 1 for the PARANOID MOMS!!!